Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Referenda as a decision making process

It’s not that I don’t think “we” should not be in charge of our destiny but, a week in to the EU Referendum campaign, I am really wondering if referenda are a good way to decide key decisions.

But with 16 weeks to go I can’t see things improving.

The BBC news is reporting that the G20 have said unanimously that Britain leaving the EU would cause a global economic shock.

Now I have no doubt that 20 senior people in the global economy have come to this conclusion. The problem is that the BBC has to be “balanced”, so to balance the G20 we have Nigel Farage! (again!)

Animated BrexitAnd Farage is saying that we are voting just to leave a political union not a trade union – implying that if we walk out of the EU all trade deals will stay intact.

Am I as a voter any wiser from this news coverage? Am I better qualified to take part in a decision that many (on both sides) seem to view as momentous – possibly the most important decision for our nation this century? Eh, No.

Does it matter that I am confused and almost certainly misinformed – like everyone else – and that this situation is unlikely to change? We are the people and we should be sovereign!

Referenda threaten to just measure the balance of bigotry as the confused and apathetic stay away from the polls.

And I thought that the idea of Parliaments was that a representative body should make big decisions based on reasoned well-informed debate. Now, I wonder why we seem not to trust that process?

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3 thoughts on “Referenda as a decision making process

  1. Peter Lanky on said:

    There are two main differences between the two campaigns. The out campaign is agains things that we see ARE happening such as being many of our services overrun with immigrants, our young people being squeezed out of employment, our culture being eroded and handing out massive amounts of money to the EU with seemingly little in return.

    The ‘in’ campaign seems based upon things that might happen, such as we may lose some trade, we may be outcast, we may be less secure and so on. Nothing tangible, and all seemingly based upon making life easier for wealthy individuals running companies and so on, who are protected from all the problems us mere mortals are encountering.

    Those two issues make it clear to me what should be happening, and like it or not Farage appears to have the desires of the public in mind as opposed to the industrialists who are self interested.

    The BBC is not remotely neutral, and seems to be promoting the in campaign far more than the out campaign, with it’s willingness to highlight all the scaremongering.

  2. I agree that the Quitters seem to be against the “real” – distorted for effect, but for the “nebulous”, whilst the Stayers seem to be against the “nebulous” – distorted for effect, but for the “real”.

    Neither is particularly attractive. I don’t know if Cameron has set it up this way or whether he is too driven by trying to appease his party “bastards”, but we are being asked to choose between:

    • an imperfect “Real” dressed up in phoney reforms, and
    • a totally nebulous “Alternative” dependent (per the Lisbon treaty provisions) on a quitting nation trying to negotiate “exit” terms with its spurned partners.

    The basic problem of referenda is setting up a genuine balanced choice. Hence the point of this original post.

    This is not a real in/out referendum – as promised but an in/uncertain referendum. Arguably Cameron should have kept his “partners” in Brussels for a few more days saying “OK, we have negotiated the best “in” situation, now let’s negotiate an “out” situation, so I can offer a genuine in/out choice to the British people“. But I don’t think they would have been willing. Comes back to the basic problem; when he started on this process he did not think it through.

  3. Pingback: Parallel Universes; Boris and the BCC | Outside the marginals

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